Doc Talk #97 – Bowels



In this show we explored the bowels and what happens when things go wrong. The bowels might be the ‘second brain’ because of the number of nerve cells that the gut has, but it may not seem that clever when you are suffering from diarrhoea!

If you get your water from a  well, it’s important that you take precautions and get your water tested and well flashed as needed.

  • Don’t take anti-diarrhoeal medication unless absolutely necessary – they can increase the risk of complications and make symptoms worse
  • Avoid consuming lactose-containing foods until the diarrhoea has settled down – you can temporarily lose your ability to digest lactose

From a medical perspective, we have to rememeber there are other potential (more serious) causes of diarrhoea, such as cancer.

One of the things that kills people is embarrassment

If you have persistent diarrhoea, are older, see blood in the stool, or have any associated symptoms (eg weight loss), or if you have a family history of bowel disease it is important that you seek medical attention.

Over the age of 50 it is important to have a FIT test (fecal immunochemical test) – this looks for blood in the stool, which can be a sign of polyps – every 2 years (for those of average risk).

It’s difficult to become a cancer if you are a polyp sitting in a pot in a pathology lab

How to reduce your risk of bowel problems? Enjoy a Mediterrean diet, avoid smoking, limit your consumption of meat, ensure an adequate fibre intake and get enough physical activity.